By By Atty. Romulo P. Atencia
The E Virus
posted 31-Oct-2015  ·  
4,561 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

The E Virus which infects our population every three years is as virulent as ever. It infects almost everybody -- farmers, fishermen, businessmen -- rich and poor alike. Some intellectuals and people who are supposed to be guardians of our morals are not immune to the disease. It rages through families, clans, and even small barangays deep in the once dark shades of rain forests. Their towering trees exist no more as they have been felled a long time ago by loggers in the employ of political dynasties. This virus mutates every three years and shows a different, uglier, face every time it turns around. Its cure has eluded political scientists and historians since probably the beginning of recorded history when men started to group together in extended families. The strong realized that if they remain in control of the community, the weak will remain to obey and look up to them for protection and leadership,

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One of the earliest thoughts I expressed in this space after my grave illness about a year ago was a satire, depicting four horsemen, not of the apocalypse, but as harbingers of doom to our country. I said that the horsemen symbolize Politicians, Voters, News Media, and  the System. They are linked to each other by one all-powerful concept – corruption. We will focus our attention this time to the politicians. With the filing of certificates of candidacy over, we now know who will be asking for our votes in the 2016 elections.

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Some of those politicians who are running for reelection will cajole us into voting for them again by talking about their alleged accomplishments, not mentioning the fact that for every government project undertaken, say a school building, at least ten percent “SOP” went to their pockets. They invariably plant huge signboards in every government project showing a colored photo of themselves grinning from ear to ear, and proclaiming to all and sundry that the funding for the same was secured through their efforts, concern for the masses, and benevolence. These claims should be taken with a grain of salt as the funding for some of these projects may have been included in the government budget appropriated even without their knowledge. These huge signboards also allow them to get considerable free advertising mileage at the expense of the government who surely footed the bill for such propaganda billboards. Very clever. But very crooked!

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Other candidates are always involved in shady wealth-generating activities -- the resultant wealth they now flash around. They are often associated with deceit, deviousness and ambition in their climb to “success”. Although some of them are not even incumbent public officials, they point to very visible repairs of public streets or structures and trumpet around that they financed those public works with money from their own pockets. They will lead us into believing that they did these public services because of their concern for the poor. The grim reality is that those candidates are the very same ones who operate illegal gambling and other illicit but lucrative activities. The money used for those propaganda gimmicks came from the poor and desperate bettors whose only hope of improving their lots is by gambling. So, in a manner of speaking, they are “public funds” as they came from the public.

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There are also candidates who use strong-arm tactics. Those are the ones who have accumulated significant wealth already by controlling the inhabitants of entire communities. Although they may rightfully be certified goons themselves, they still employ goons and seek the assistance of bandits masquerading as rebels or ideological opponents of our present system of government. Unable to point to any significant accomplishment done by them in their entire miserable lives, they terrorize voters and their political opponents. They employ brutality, instead of deviousness, to gain or preserve power and wealth.

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The really moneyed candidates are chameleons of change. With their wealth, they can be any or all of the above: reelectionists, swindlers, or warlords. At least for now, some provinces are lucky that their wealthy candidates are only geared toward the protection of their business empires. They just employ the most effective and time-tested way of winning an election in our country – just buy the votes. In most places, corrupt voters anxiously wait for the peculiar midnight knock on their doors by the bringers (usually barangay officials) of the “last hour” compensation for their votes. To these wealthy candidates money used for buying votes is just another investment in which they expect to earn a handsome profit. And they are almost always sure of being elected, re-elected, or elected again. With the required “capitalization” available, they might as well have jingles to the tune of "Happy Days Are Here Again", a 1929 song best remembered as the campaign song for Franklin Delano Roosevelt's successful 1932 US presidential campaign.

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And, oh, let us not forget the really loony candidates who filed their certificates of candidacy because they are here allegedly to save our country from total perdition. They will prove their capacity to accomplish their mission by claiming that they really are from the planet Krypton who, due to their superior physiology, have x-ray visions, can fly in earth’s light gravitation pull, and are impervious to bullets. He, he, he. It is a good thing COMELEC will surely declare them nuisance candidates and will purge their names from the list of candidates.

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